First of all, as promised, lemme try to sum up the past two or three months (LJ cut for your convenience).
Summer started off with a job hunt. I looked all over town at every computer firm or engineering place or anything else. Nuthin. Not in T-town or in Mobile. I then started looking around all over Mobile for other jobs. Literally anything. Auto Zone, Hobby Lobby, WalMarts, you name it. I thought that I would definitely be able to get in at WalMart, as my mother told me that they have super-loose admission policies. Almost anyone can work there, and if you already have family there, you're almost guaranteed. Mom used to work there (as one of it's best employees), and my half-aunt and my half-cousin's girlfriend both worked there currently. Turns out that I didn't get it. Maybe it was due to the fact that one of the two mentioned is a complete slacker, and the other got fired for cheating the company and forging paperwork not a week after I dropped off my application. BAH.
I went to Books-A-Million, one of my favorite hangouts when I'm in LA. I know half the people there so-so just from talking to them as they check me out or whatever. Turns out that Jason's ex-girlfriend Sandra works there now. She was uber-friendly towards me, dragging me back to the Customer Service station and getting all of her coworkers to sign for me as references. Also, she went into the back and got the manager and put in a good word for me personally. When the manager was talking to me as I turned in the app, she seemed really impressed. We hit it off almost like friends, and she was wowed at my overqualified resume (that was originally drafted to impress engineers and programmers and the like). Sandra accidentally helped me out some; since she doesn't know anything about me professionally, I'm just the gamer geek that she knew from T-town. Naturally she was curious what was on my resume, and whenever she was surprised about something she'd blurt it out. All during my convo with the manager we would be interrupted with exclamations like "Wow, you studied abroad in Japan" or "I never knew you were so smart" and the like. The manager almost guaranteed me the job - all she had to do was clear it with the other manager first.
Turns out that the next day, one of the managers quit/was fired/something. That only left two, and they had to work double-time to break even. It took a while before the manager I spoke with was able to talk to the second one, and by that time they realized that I was only going to be there for the summer. They didn't want to hire someone who'd leave in two or three months, so I got bumped. If I can't get a job after I graduate though, I'm almost certain that I'll be able to go to work there - they invited me to reapply if ever I need a more permanent job and will be in town for a while.
Aside from that, there wasn't any luck at all. With my crippled back, I can't work at Gaston's farm or at the shingle factory or any of the other places I've worked before. Most jobs are simply too rough on my spine, and the few that aren't are all engineering work and the like that I've already tried to break into. Add in the fact that I'd have to work an evening shift instead of normal 9-to-5 work due to my summer classes and I'm screwed out of any job that was available. And since this is the worst job market that this country has seen in over 12 years, that didn't make things easier. Most employers were almost scared to even touch my resume, as if it were laced with a contact poison or something... ::shrugs::
Things looked up for a while there. Laura's mom went crazy and kicked her out, and my baby had nowhere to go. So, she moved in with me! Those were the absolute best weeks in my life! It was so great getting to wake up next to her every morning and fall asleep with her in my arms every night. I just can't wait till we're married this spring! ::smiles:: Even my family loved having her around - Mom said that she was the biggest blessing to happen to our family in ages. Laura fit in perfectly, and seemed to happy there. Too bad it couldn't last; we were all expecting her to stay there till the end of summer at least, or maybe until I graduated this winter. Her granny convinced her mom to email her with a big long apology, so while it was sad to see her leave at least her mom came to her senses and said she was sorry. Laura did not want to go back at all, but since Ms. Alice said she was sorry Laura figgured she should give her another chance. My folks begged her to stay, and tried their best to talk her out of it. It's so good to see that they love her almost as much as I do. Almost. ::smiles:: Ever since she left, both my mom and dad have said "I miss our baby" and "when's our girl coming home to us" and the like. It's so cute. ^_^
School went well. Got an A in Cal III! Whoo-hoo! I'm not going to blame all of my problems on that ASSHOLE professor I had last time, but when I make a 68 one year, a 0 the next year, and then a ninety-something the next...it simply can't be all my fault. Bleh. Stats I'm a little more worried about. I had a C average going into the Final. I felt like I bombed that test, but I felt the same way about Test 3 in there. I thought I'd get a 30 or something, but I ended up with a 74. Hopefully the Final will turn out the same way. I'm not really all that worried about it, but as long as it's over my head I'm a little anxious. Especially since if I didn't pass it my schedule's going to be royally fucked up. I'll be finished with everything after this semester EXCEPT Stats II, which I'll have to take by itself as I hopefully can find some part-time work. That'd push graduating back a semester and push our wedding back another six months, not to mention me having to refile all my papers, beg for more loan money, probably get kicked out of Residential Housing and God knows what all else. Meh. I wrote Dr. Mishira about it asking to at least let me know if I made the C that I needed or not, but only got a snippy letter saying "I'm on vacation" with no answer and no way of knowing if I can take Stats II or not until a few weeks into the actual class. Damn you!
Failed all of my local friends again. I really don't mean to, but it just happens. I play a few games of phone tag with them, and before you know it I'm either on my back from my injuries or so busy trying not to fail out of school that I simply don't have the time or the energy. All I want is to stay in touch with Caleb and Adam, but it just seems so damn impossible to do. I feel even worse about it because of little things like when I bumped into Adam at the store. I felt so guilty to start with, and then he introduces me to his girlfriend as his "best friend of all time" or something similar...and I know I don't deserve it. I'm about as shitty of a friend as they come. He also used me as a reference - he's trying to get on as an Alabama State Trooper. I gave him the best possible review that I could without lying. I know he's going to be a good officer; I just hope that my recommendation helps him out. It's the least that I can do for the guy. I've let him down so many times I'd be honored if I can do something to help the boy out.
I hope that the fact that my folks were murder suspects this summer doesn't affect the validity of the recommendation that I sent in to the State Trooper's Office on Adam's behalf. My Uncle Pat (my grandfather's brother, who was just like a second grandfather to me) died this summer. It's sad, of course, but he was in so much pain I'm glad that he's not suffering any longer. Now, my brother and my dad and I are all that's left of the Cantrell men. Randall and I are pretty much the last of our line.
I don't know exactly what it happened (pretty much died of natural causes, I suppose) but here's how the story goes. On a Sunday night or something, he ended up falling down. He wasn't able to get up, and was shouting as loud as he could until someone heard him. The neighbor went out to paint something in his shed over six hours later and heard him then. He called us to tell us what happened. Pat had said not to, because he was okay once he was back up on his feet, but Mr. Dunn wanted to do the right thing and let us know anyways. Mom wasn't taking calls however, and we didn't check the answering machine message until Tuesday I think.
Of course, she rushed on over there to help him out any way that she could. He seemed okay, just weak and trembly. He was worse the next day - shaking and trembling uncontrollably. The day after, he couldn't even stand up. Just lied in bed and waited. I think he died the next morning. What's even sadder than him dying was the fact that he was so scared. Pat was always fiercly independant, a true Cantrell in every way. He wasn't never scared of nothing. But on like the second day he knew that this was it and it just plain scared him. Things were extremely bad before. For example, the arteries in his throat were only working at 35% efficiency. His kidneys were only working at abouty 20% of what they should. He needed to take a dye test - you know, the ones where you have to swallow a gallon of dye and then they take pictures of you while it's in your system? Well, he couldn't do that cause his kidneys weren't strong enough to filter out the dye after they were done with the pictures. Plenty of other things, but I'm sure that's enough to give you the general idea.
His only request was that he died in his home, where he was happy, instead of being drug down to the hospital and having to spend his last few nights in a cold, bland, unfamilliar room with strange people stabbing him with needles and feeding him gruel. Mom tried to help him pull through it, and when it was obvious that he wasn't going to she tried to make things as easy as possible for him. She lived over there, sleeping in chairs by his bed or sometimes the couch in the living room, and then usually only when Dad was able to drop by after work to relieve her.
Mom's really great about that. Taking care of people, I mean. Out of all the deathbeds she's sat beside though, this was the first one where the person was at home and not in a hospital. After he died, they both cried a lot. Afterwards, they were kinda confused (mainly to being so emotional). "What are we supposed to do with the body?" They called Aunt Joyce, who was able to think clearly for the two of them. She told them to call 911, which they did. The paramedics came, didn't say a word to them. Just asked where he was. They pointed to his room. They came out a few minutes later and walked back to the car without saying a word. Dad asked them what all was going on and what all they had to do next, and they just rudely said to him "Ain't nothing we can do about it" and left. Bastards. A few minutes later, the police cars arrived at the scene. They questioned my folks about the stupidest things. "How did he die?" Well, he was 74 years old. Dad was over with one officer who was asking hiom questions trying to stablish a motive as to why he'd kill his uncle. Another was asking Mom things like what kind of medicines she gave him, were they perscribed for him, and the like. They asked her to name what all perscriptions he was on. She didn't know, but she said that she could bring out the bottles for him to look at. The officer said okay. Mom then came out with her arms filled with two dozen or so bottles, and said she'd be right back with the rest. The officer stared at her funny, and then realized that maybe Pat really was a sick old man who died and wasn't murdered. Kind of an unusual, stressful situation but in the end things were okay. (Didn't get a new pair of mugshots to add to my collection though...)
The funeral was just sad. No other way to describe it. Pat was kind of a shut-in, and all of his friends and family members had already died off. Mom called a pastor that he knew to perform the service, and unfortunately his wife answered saying that they were on vacation on the other side of the country and there would be no way they could make it back in tome ot do the service. The funeral home basically called up some pastor and asked if they could do a service the next day with no advance warning or time to prepare or anything.
No one came to the visitation. RJ was already home for a leadership conference. Pan and Joyce came. The Moody's didn't want to, but Pam guilted at least Rod and Dorothy into coming. Other than that, his neighboirs came over and like one or two other people, and that was it. The only flowers that he had was the ones we brought and some Aunt Joyce had made for him. The actual service was boring as hell - it was just a fill i nthe blank kind of job, and really wasn't about Pat at all. You could tell that he was just reading from an index card stuffed in his Bible and just put Pat's name in the blanks. ::sigh:: They even skimped out on his millitary funeral things. The two vets that presented the flag didn't know how to fold it, and messed it up a few times before getting it right. They didn't do the 21 gun salute like they were supposed to. Bah. Just one step away from being an unmarked grave on the edge of the cemetary like Jean Valjean.
It was real crazy cleaning out his house. I found out all kinds of things that I had no idea of before. I found his police records, showing the jaw-dropping number of times he was arrested for public intoxication and general rowdiness. I had already knew that he was a Mason, but I didn't know that he was the second to highest rank. Turns out that there's only one man higher rank than Pat, and that's the big grand poobah of it all. Ultra spiffy cool. There was also all of the top secret Masonic books, as well as some of Uncle Pat's and Grandpa Cantrell's handwritten notes. Very interesting reading - I'd really like to skim through all of that one day. RJ has already started on one of the books.
One of Mom's aunts also died this summer. I believe it was a half-relative by a divorce that she wasn't all that close to. She was planning on going to the funeral if possible, but as it was somewhere in Florida she wasn't able to do so.
My injuries are still the same. Now it's been three and a half years of constant pain every single day. Blarg. I saw a new doctor, a new pain specialist. He seemed nice enough the first time I visited him. I point-blank asked him what his hopes were for me, and he said that I need to learn to live with all of this because he feels that I'm going to be suffering from this for quite a while, if not the rest of my life. Otherwise the same as before, except that I'm on several new medicines. Some in addition to my regular ones and some as replacements to the old ones to see if they're better or worse. The nighttime pills get me sooper-dooper stoned, which isn't as fun as you'd think. I literally can't remember what all I did before the next morning. It's wacky.
I also come to find out that the pills that I've been taking for the past year/year and a half have a side affect - they dramatically increase appitite. So, I have:
1) pills that make me eat and eat and eat and never get full,
2) a broke spine that does not allow me to do much of anything strenuous (especially work out), and
3) a thyroid condidion which means that my body physically can't prodice a certain hormone. On top of several other nasty things, it makes me extremely fatighed and lathargic as well as not allowing my body to burn calories like normal. My body just won't turn food into energy, so most of it gets stored as fat.
Not very good for the home team. No wonder I've been getting so extremely bad out of shape. Luckily he took me off of those pills and put me on another kind that has the same effect on my nerve damage, but has the side effect "loss of appetite" instead of the "stuff your face like Anna Nichole Smith" one. So far I'm down ten pounds; let's just hope I can continue to drop this excess baggage.
Second time I went to this doctor, he was asking me the standard questions. How've I been, how has the new medications been working out. How's physical therapy coming along. "Physical therapy?" I ask him. "You never prescribed for me to go to any physical therapist..."
He looks at me confusedly. "I thought I did..."
"Well, you didn't."
"Didn't I give you a piece of paper for it?"
"No, all the papers I had went to the pharmacist who cashed them all in for my new drugs."
"Oh. Hmm." He then looked at his clipboard and showed me where he wrote down that he was perscribing PT for me, even though he never actually did it.
"So, when do you leave for college?" he then asked.
"So.....we have one week to try to get you better..." ::blank, confused stare::
I think to myself that if they could have made all of this better, why the hell did they wait THREE AND A HALF YEARS to fix things. So, I tell him "Look, if it were that easy to fix, it'd be done by now. A week's not going to be enough time to do anything". I then asked him to write a slip out for PT in general, and I'll pass it to someone here in Tuscaloosa. He said that'd be fine, but he forgot to do so again. BAH!
He then handed me a stack of seven prescriptions. I looked over them and saw an unfamilliar name. I aksed him about it, since he didn't tell me he was putting me on something new this time. "Oh, that's your Amitryptaline".
"But Doc....you took me off of that last month. Remember?" Turns out he didn't, and it wasn't even in the computer. However, he took my word for it (he at first looked at me like I didn't know what I was talking about, but after I told him the medications I was now on instead he realized that I must be right and did as he was supposed to do).
He said to come back in whenever I was in town - he wouldn't schedule an appointment since neither of us knew when that would be. I said okay, even though I have no intentions of going back to that sucker again. Meh.
The move back here was rough, but nowhere nearly as hellish as usual. I woke up at eight in the morning...not too ludicrous of a time to get up, except that RT kept laura out late the night before, and by the time she could call it was already threeish. Kinda tired, but my fear of the pain and suffering that I would be forced to endure if I slept late got me out of bed real quick. I originally wanted to load the truck up the night before so all I'd have to do would be to shower, but I hurt my back the night before moving boxes so I waited and asked Dad to gimme a hand with it the next morning.
Ended up pulling out later that I had planned. Was shooting for 9:00 (or 9:30 since I had to pack first), but ended up leaving around quarter after ten. Didn't get too much of a chance to say bye to my folks since I wasso rushed, but perhaps that was for he best. It's easer to say goodbye when you're forced to keep it short and sweet. Got to pretty much pretend that I'm just heading out with some friends and I'll be back in a little while or else it gets hard.
Got gas at Handy Stop, and headed on down the road. While gassing up I (as always) got me a YooHoo for the road. This time, however, I spilled half of it all over myself when I took a sip of it at the first red light. Now my white Jim Beam shirt is shit-brown. ::shrugs:: Not too long after that, I looked down and saw an insect crawling around on the stuff in my cab. I've for some reason had a problem with ants as of late, but instead I looked down to see a huge ass bumblebee. He dissapeared, and reappeared later. I rolled down the windows so that he could escape. Instead, he started making a bee-line (pardon the pun) for my leg. Not wanting him to sting me, I ended up swatting at him and knocking him to the floor. Since he was now pissed off, I had to try to stomp him - luckily I nailed him on the first time. Even more so, lucky for me that I noticed the truck in the lane that I was now starting to swerve into, and lucky that I was able to slide back into my own before there was a head on collision.
The rest of the drive was pretty tame, except for when I got stuck behind someone doing 35 mph on the highway. I rarely ever pass anyone - I guess I've been a real timid driver ever since my latest wreck that injured my spinal column. But, after a while there was a long stretch of highway in a passing zone, and not the first car in the other direction. I was about two or three carlengths back, just hanging there waiting for a place to pass. This was about as good as I could ask for. I put my foot to the floor and leat that big ol' 454 unwind.
I zipped on around the car easily. Once I completed the pass, I slipped on back into my lane and let off the gas. Naturally, I took a glance into my rear view to make sure everything was okay - everyone knows that the most annoying thing in the world is someone who flies past you and then slows down to a crawl once they've passed you. Problem was, there wasn't anyone there. After a double-take, I looked deeper into my mirrors and saw the sun reflecting off of a winshield waaaaay on up the hill, almost out of sight. DAMN! Glancing down at my spedometer, it was down to 90 mph or so after costing for however long it was. ::smiles:: I love my truck. Mentally, I remember that I have a big block engine that's shaved, bored, cored, and has the racing gears and camshaft and traction bars and everything, but I suppose I sometimes forget from driving at 45 mph for so long. Man, it's the coolest thing in the world. Had goosebumps from there to Thomasville. ^_^
Pulled into T-town around 2:30 pm. Pretty good time - all in all it took four and a quarter hours to make it here. Parking lot was virtually empty. I parked right beside the building for perhaps the first time in five years. I walked inside and saw seven or so carts sitting there by the check-in desk. Usually there's a line for those things, and on move-in day they're worth their weight in gold. Usually have to wait two hours before you can rent one. I checked in, talked to John Paul for a few minutes while I was waiting on the RA's to file the paperwork, and headed on up. Filled out the pre-stay damage report with all the usual things. CEILING: we have one. FLOOR: (same as 818's ceiling). WALLS: white. STOVE: hot. REFRIGERATOR: cold. They make you fill out the same things so many times I couldn't help but be a little screwy. Upon going downstairs, I snagged a cart, took up all my belongings in two trips, and returned the cart before I had to pay the late fee - another first for me. The RA was in the foyer studying for his MCAT test, so I talked with him for a few minutes before retiring back to my dorm sweet dorm.
Living lika a refugee up here. The plan was to only take what I needed to survuve. One cup, one pot, one bowl, one pan, no radio, no TV, no toys, nothing but the essentials. As of right now, I've got the covers and the pillows on the bed, and two boxes sitting beside it. That's *all*. It feels as if I'm squatting here, sneaking in and illegally staying here for the time being. Hopefully the roommates (Yuki at least) will bring some goodies. Normally I bring 95% of the stuff (the only things I ususally don't bring is only the things that I don't own). Only reason I'm trying to get by on so little this time is that I hopefully ::crosses fingers:: will be outta here come December. (Great song, by the way. I think I'm gonna snag "December" offa Kazaa Lite now that I'm thinking about it...)
It's so damn lonely up here. No one in town except for the gamng group. No one in my apartment. No phone, not a single luxury. As I lay in bed staring at the celing, I think that this is what my life would probably have been like if Laura hadn't of found me five years ago. Walking around the room, bored to death, completely alone, isolated from the rest of civilization. Damn I miss her so much. Even more so because on the drive to Jason's house (the gathering spot for all the friends I have left in this town), I have to pass by Ruby Tuesdays every time. Reminds me of her so much, and usually gets me depressed on the way to what normally is a great time hanging out or watching MST3K or Anime or roleplaying or the like. ::sigh::
Talking about Jasons, I might as well add today's misadventures here in this already absurdly long post. The gang started up a Star Hero game while I was away. The group was meeting today, and Jas offered to let me hop into the campaign if I could stat out a character real quick. Being a Star Wars RPG veteran, that was no problem - I wrote up a psicop character. He was a bounty hunter that used his psychic talents to scan minds and hunt for his prey. I heard that one of the other PC's (guess who...::grumbles::) had some problems with a BH already, but didn't think too much of it. EVERY Star Wars party has been persued by hunters at one point or another, and even if there's a hunter PC it usually turns out all right plot-wise.
However, last session went....oddly. Taylor (yes, the same one as the monk from my Realms game) took "Hunted" as one of his Disadventages, and took it for 25 points. For all you non-HERO system guys out there, that's the maximum value one can take. So, the guy hunting him is going to be pretty rough. Turns out he was another psicop character who was after Taylor for various reasons. He was a grizzled vet, almost like the Boba Fett of this universe. He had the toys, the skills...but his one flaw was that he was ultra-polite. That and he wore a yellow trenchcoat and bright yellow hat. ::shrugs::
There was a knock on the door. Derek's war vet character, naturally, opened it to see who was there. It was this hunter guy mentioned earlier. Taylor ran for the bathroom to hide. RJ's gray popped his head around the corner and asked who it was. Man in Yellow Hat politely introduced himself and asked if they knew where Taylor was. RJ said "Sure. He's back there, in the bathroom" and with a hand gesture welcomed him to come in and pointed to where the bathroom was.
TWO HOURS passed. Taylor did nothing. Didn't use his psychic powers to escape. Didn't try to look for an air vent or a window or anything. The GM even told me that if he had of asked about something like that, he (the DM) would have said "Sure, there's one in there", ANYTHING just to get him to do something. Yellow Hat asked him to come out. He didn't. Yellow Hat asked again, telling him that he knows that he's in there. All Taylor could think to do was ask "Um....can you wait till I'm done in here?" Yellow Hat agrees and impatiently waits. Very much time goes by, both in game and in real life. Eventually, Yellow Hat cuts the power. Taylor is silent. Yellow Hat puts on his night vision goggles and opens the door. Taylor sticks his head out of the stall and askes "Um........is there anything I can do for you?"
Yellow Hat shoots with his stun lazer and drags him away unconscious.
After that, I don't know what all happened, but in their attempt to rescue Taylor, RJ stole 10,000 credits from Yellow Hat somehow. That took up the remainder of that night's session, and it wasn't until today's session when we were back on the original track. I show up as another psychic bounty hunter. Things went downhill from there. (Long story short, Talyor opened fire with the ships cannons. I was trying to sneak up to the ship, break in, stun some people, perhaps cuff them until they convince me that they're the good guys, and then join them on their merry way. But after their transport starts opening fire on me with it's ship to ship weapons, there wasn't much anyone could do. It ended with everyone pointing guns at eveyone else.) Campaign died right there. Derek perhaps said it better when he said that the campaign had it's throat slit last week, and it just took this long to die.
::shrugs:: Too bad the game died. Haven't played a space opera campaign in quite a while (since WEG was still in business, if that tells you anything). But, on the other hand, it makes for a really great story. Not as good as the "Head of Vecna" or the infamous "Gazebo" story, but it is definitely a keeper. Don't judge it by my retelling of it though - since I wasn't there, I can't quite tell it as humorously as the rest of the gang.
And that takes me up to the present.
Tomorrow I'm going to finish unpacking, and hopefully meet the new roommate. After that, it's a quick run to WalMart to get food and other miscellaneous supplies, and then to the movies with Jason to see Freddy vs Jason. I don't know who wins, and don't you dare post it here and spoil it for me. But as far as I'm concerned it better be Jason. Jason > all. Jason always wins. Doesn't matter if it's versus Freddy or Pinhead or Michael Myers or the thirteen ghosts or the US Army or a Protoss carrier rush, I'll be rooting for Jason. I mean, Freddy can invade people's nightmares. I sincerely doubt Jason has nightmares, because you have to be afraid of something before you can have nightmares and we all know that Jason ain't afraid of nothing. That, and the fact that Jason already has a higher body count than Kreuger. Even if Freddy were to invade his dreams somehow, Jason wouldn't be panicking like all of Freddy's other victims - he'd grab his machete and start walking towards the crispy freak. Now, let's just hope the movie acknowledges the fact that I'm right and doesn't make THE MAN job to Kreuger like Barry Horowitz on a Tuesday night house show...
Rock on, everybody. This is Nash, signing off.